ISSN: 1230-2813
Advances in Psychiatry and Neurology/Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii
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vol. 27

Recovery and faith

Dorota Dużyk-Wypich

Adv Psychiatry Neurol 2018; 27 (2): 73-76
Online publish date: 2018/07/06
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(…) German word Erfahrung – experience, derives from the verb fahren – to travel. Travelling takes time, not seldom a whole life, it leads through trials, mistakes, lapses, break-downs, but also moments of joy, peace, and happiness, however relative this concept may be. This journey takes endurance and patience. And how can one be patient, when he or she encounters mental suffering? How to endure the travel and not to disembark underway?
In mental illness, we disembark the train of life, although we are still alive. But this life becomes so difficult, that we wander into psychosis, delusions, depression, suicidal thoughts and attempts. Does faith help us get out of this? Does it help to recover? I am not able to answer this question unequivocally.
There are many shades to faith, it depends on what our mental condition is, how we perceive ourselves, the others, the world. There is no sheer spirituality, as in addition to it there is also our psyche and emotions, encompassed by boundaries of the body. Spirituality is connected with sensing, imaginations, feelings, experiences. And sometimes it is contaminated with ill-perception of the self and of the others, including God.
In order to recover you have to want it really hard. Even if you really want it, recovery can be an extremely difficult task. It would also be good to know what you want to recover from; sometimes it takes years to acquire such knowledge – years of therapy, crises, remissions and recurring downfalls.
(…) For years I had not felt good in my body. On my way of therapy, I met people who did not feel good in theirs, either. Faith and religion have such a powerful message that most of us have delusions of religious nature. These are, now and then, beautiful experiences of ecstasy, illuminating flashes of inspiration – I understand everything! – deep affection in church, where suddenly you can feel an overwhelming presence of God. Then these feelings are taken away by medicine, treatment, post-psychotic depression. You are left with a question: was this, what I had experienced, a mere delusion?
But apart from miraculous sensations, also nightmares appear: rejection by God, punishment, damnation, infernal ordeal already on earth, cruel fight with Satan, piercing feeling of guilt.
Just as one’s psyche can ail, so can his or her spirituality. Sadly, so few therapists take up talks about spirituality and faith....

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